Revisions the Pixar Way

“Having worked many years at Pixar Animation Studios in the story department, I have had the opportunity to get intimate with the revision process for the films there. ” — Max Brace (click to read the details)

Don’t blame the Internet (just give it credit)

“In a rant last week, a famous writer said, ‘The Internet is not to blame for your unfinished novel: you are.’ As far as I’m concerned, the internet was created to keep more crappy novels from crowding the in-boxes of bitching ass agents like me. From crowding the shelves of bookstores. From taking down trees. From becoming e and crowding the what? ether? I think the more the internet keeps people from writing the better. Thank you internet porn. Thank you E-Bay. Thank you YouTube. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg. Every minute you surf the web is a minute you don’t write something stupid and pathetic. The internet is the next best thing to wanking, face picking, drawer reorganizing, and therapy. The internet is what separates the yolk from the whites.” — Betsy Lerner

A Day in the Life of John McPhee

“OK, it’s nine in the morning. All I’ve got to do is write. But I go hours before I’m able to write a word. I make tea. I mean, I used to make tea all day long. And exercise, I do that every other day. I sharpened pencils in the old days when pencils were sharpened. I just ran pencils down. Ten, eleven, twelve, one, two, three, four—this is every day. This is damn near every day. It’s four-thirty and I’m beginning to panic. It’s like a coiling spring. I’m really unhappy. I mean, you’re going to lose the day if you keep this up long enough. Five: I start to write. Seven: I go home. That happens over and over and over again. So why don’t I work at a bank and then come in at five and start writing? Because I need those seven hours of gonging around. I’m just not that disciplined. I don’t write in the morning—I just try to write. ” — John McPhee

Let your taste drive you, not kill you

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. And the thing I would say to you with all my heart…if you’re going through this phase, it’s totally normal, and the most important possible thing you could do is do a lot of work, a huge volume of work…It’s only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap.” — Ira Glass (via kottke.org)

Writers need structure

“[For writers], freedom can be our worst enemy. It can lead to paralysis, procrastination, aimlessness, or indecision. And especially for writers who are just starting out, the principles still need to be learned. While we may need room to experiment and explore, we also need meaningful practice and a way of measuring progress.” — Jane Friedman